I’ve been managing online marketing and advertising campaigns for several years. eCommerce sites are of particular interest to me versus B2B sites for the simple fact that it much easier to determine the efficacy of SEM (Search Engine Marketing) efforts when a sale or conversion is the goal. I want to share a few basic  tips  for Small Business owners who are creating or managing their E Commerce  PPC  campaigns. This isn’t advice coming from a Google Certified Advertising Partner, but rather an entrepreneur who knows what it takes to launch a successful eCommerce site from scratch and grow it’s success!

1. Have realistic expectations from the beginning. If it were easy to sell products online just by launching  PPC  advertising, every small business would be successful. The advantage of  PPC  advertising as far as SEM is concerned is the ability to target your advertisements to people searching for a similar product. The key here is “searching for”. For example if you sell “hand painted purple colored rocks” chances are you’ll find a very low search volume. On the other hand if you sell skin care products you’ll find a very high search volume. Google, BING, and Facebook make their advertiser user interface very user friendly. They want you to use their service and spend money. The systems are not automatically opimized to spend that budget efficiently. That’s up to you.

I’ve worked with a lot of Business owners and Brands that are convinced they have the next million dollar idea or product to sell. Just because you’re passionate about it, does not guarantee the world will agree! Your friends, family, and colleagues may support you and substantiate your belief, however keep in mind they’re supporting YOU. Your average customer has no personal connection to you or your Brand.

2. Know your conversion rates. Looking at your Google Analytics reports, or whatever program you use to measure traffic to your site, determine how many visits or clicks need to occur for you to make one sale. This is your conversion ratio. If it takes 100 clicks to make 1 sale, your conversion ratio is 1%. This is extremely valuable information to consider as it will help you determine how much you can bid or pay per click. Let’s say your average sale is $34.95, you have a 1% conversion ratio, and you’re paying $1.00 CPC. That means it would cost you $100 in  PPC  spend to earn one $34.95 sale. If that’s the case something’s not working and it’s time to consult with someone experienced with eCommerce  PPC  Advertising for Small Business.

3. Budget, Budget, Budget. When allocating the investment to build your e commerce site and develop your product and stock your inventory, don’f forget to ear mark a budget for advertising. The most common pitfall I’ve experienced are Small Business owners who have spent their entire budget on developing their site and product, and have little left over to advertising.  PPC  Advertising is a testing game. It’s nearly impossible to launch a  PPC  campaign and have outstanding success right out of the gate. The search engines place value on the history of your account. Just like gambling in Vegas, make sure your mindset is such that you’re prepared to part with your advertising dollars without necessarily generating revenue initially.  PPC  advertising campaigns have to be contiuously monitored and tested in order to be optimized.

4. Know your audience. By design,  PPC  Advertising means you’re only paying for clicks on your ad. However you don’t just want any clicks, you want potential consumers to click. This is why setting targeting parameters with your  PPC  campaigns is so important as is the ad copy itself. You may be better off paying a slightly higher CPC if it means it’s a consumer more likely to purchase your product!